'Daily' police call-outs to problem street drinking in Ipswich
- Credit: Suffolk police/Pixabay
Ipswich police tackle problem street drinking on a "daily" basis, a town centre officer has said.
The issue can often fuel anti-social behaviour and led to a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) being renewed last year, which gives police the power to take away alcohol causing problem behaviour and fine and prosecute people who refuse to comply.
Problem street drinking issues range from public urination to aggressive incidents.
Domenic Mann, an inspector for Ipswich town centre, said: "We deal with street drinking on a daily basis in Ipswich.
"Ipswich is not alone in this."
He added that "most" towns have street drinkers and he saw it often while on holiday this year.
But he said it was wrong to see everyone who is a street drinker as a cause of ASB or a person who is homeless.
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"These are people who live quite chaotic lives," he said. "So it's a multi-agency effort to help them.
"Everyone will have their own unique reason why they're [street drinking..] It really could be anyone."
A big change for police has been the "reduction in the amount of strong alcohol sold", which off-licences and supermarkets have reduced.
Ipswich Housing Action Group, IhAg, is one of the agencies that help police with street drinkers and the homeless in the town.
Jools Ramsey, CEO at ihAg said: "A number of people use alcohol as a coping mechanism for their personal circumstances, and some of these can be found drinking in small groups on the streets of Ipswich.
"The reasons for drinking together are many; this can prevent social isolation and promote feelings of 'safety' – being together with others who share the same coping mechanism without fear of judgement. It can also be because of genuine friendships, or because the places they are staying in do not allow visitors – this has certainly been the case during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Everyone we support is who is using alcohol or drugs is offered support to engage with Turning Point, and begin to address their usage. We’ve hosted health check appointments at the Chapman Centre throughout the pandemic, as restrictions have allowed, and will continue to do so."
Councillor Alasdair Ross, Ipswich Borough Council’s community protection portfolio holder, said IBC take it "seriously" and are taking action on this issue with partners.
ASB can be reported on ipswich.gov.uk/reportasb.